The Names Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who does James spend much of Chapter 13 trying to find?

2. To what does Volterra attribute the cult killings at the end of Chapter 8?

3. In Chapter 13, what does Lindsay Keller say technology is doing to the world?

4. Based on the revelations of the novel, who most likely tried to shoot James?

5. What is the first thing Singh asks Owen in Chapter 12?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does James follow up on his Mani discovery later in Chapter 8?

2. How does Owen look in Chapter 12?

3. How did Del Nearing and Frank Volterra meet?

4. What point about the murders does Andahl make in Chapter 9?

5. How is Chapter 14 connected thematically to the rest of the novel?

6. What suspicions does James have about Eliades in Chapter 13?

7. In Chapter 12, why does Owen go to Lake Rajsamand?

8. Where is Volterra in his planning for the cult film at the end of Chapter 8?

9. What unsettling information does Ann Maitland tell James in Chapter 10?

10. What does James Axton learn in Bombay early in Chapter 11?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Violence occurs intermittently throughout The Names, and when it falls, the violence comes quickly and partially witnessed. It is ambiguous in its intent and raises all sorts of questions. Write an essay about moments of violence in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the first murder. Who makes not of it first in the novel? Is it witnessed, first-hand by any character? How does Owen connect the violence to the people he met in the cave? What inquiries lead to the connection of the first murder to the ones that came before and after it?

Part 2) How does Owen experience his only murder with the death cult? Is he actually present when the man is bludgeoned to death? Why or why not? In assessing the effect of this violence on him as a character, discuss what leads up to the murder and what follows it.

Part 3) How is David Keller shot in the novel? Who shoots him, and why? How does James Axton, and by proxy the reader, experience this act of violence in the novel? Discuss what concerns and doubts it creates in the protagonist's mind. How is the act explained?

Essay Topic 2

A central theme of Don DeLillo's The Names is the mystical and broad meaning of language. In this novel, language and words not only contain meaning but also a sort of divine truth. Write an essay in three parts about the way DeLillo deals with truth in the novel:

Part 1) Owen Brademas is the major character with the most passionate connection to language in the novel. Discuss what influences in his life, beginning with his childhood, have contributed to this connection. What does he want to do with his life, and how do words become part of this? What is the purpose of ancient words, in his viewpoint?

Part 2) Midway through the novel, the mysterious Vosdanik explains the significance of words to the mysterious cult. Describe the role of language to the lonely men of the desert. Why are they obsessed with them? Historically, what has been the significance of words to spiritual acolytes?

Part 3) What is the methodology of the language cult? Why do they commit their murders? What divine extreme are they reaching for? Citing the words of Vosdanik, Andahl, and Singh, discuss the meaning of the cult in the world of the novel. Are they the touchstone of love of language in The Names?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the character of Frank Volterra. What is his connection to the Axtons, and how does he find himself in the search of the language cult? Discuss how DeLillo paints Volterra with a different brush that the other characters. Is he, in essence, a caricature of the temperamental auteur director? How does Del Nearing's attachment to Volterra humanize him to a certain point?

(see the answer keys)

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